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Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

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Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

We're first timers to Sri Lanka and I'm struggling to figure out what to see/what to miss. Sorry to ask for help so early in my research but better to know first off if the ideas are already too unrealistic -

Couple travelling with a 10 year old in tow, wanting to combine hill country and animals with 4-5 days beach at the end.

Does this sound sensible?:

Week 1- Kandy, Sigiriya, Ella or Nuwara Eliya and Yala

Week 2 - Beach on South coast 4-5 nights, Galle 1-2 nights

The things we really want to fit in:

Train ride from Colombo to Kandy, then train again to Ella (pref observation coach where possible)

Some wildlife - to keep 10 year old entertained

Decent beach with snorkelling - ie NOT busy tourist resort but also not too deserted/honeymooner hotel with nothing for kids to do. Is Unawatuna the best choice?

1 or 2 special hotels (the rest of the time we can rough it a bit) Does anyone have any hotels in the Hill country/villages that are a bit 'different' they would recommend?

Probably willing to get a driver for all bits except the trains I've specified if that's necessary time-wise.

Advice at this stage would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


Colombo, Sri Lanka
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1. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

Hi Boo,

Sounds decent. Mirissa or U'tuna could be a good fit. Do Sigiriya as a long day trip (car) from Kandy, if you mainly use public transit otherwise it's too much of a detour.

Special hill country places: 3-5 stars Melheim in Haputale and Jetwing Warwick Gardens near Eliya. Thoug for us 'standard' fare like Tea Factory hotel Eliya or St. Andrews Eliya is already different enough from normal Lankan tropical hotels...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Negombo, Sri Lanka
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2. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!


I suggest your tour plan as bellow.

01) 02 Nights Sigiriya /Polonnaruwa

[able to visit Polonnaruwa ancient city / Sigiriya Rock /Village Tour

/Minneriya & Kawdulla National park/Bullock cart ride/canoe boat

ride/Elephant ride /Dambulla caves ]

02) 02 Nights Kandy

[Ayurvedic Herbal garden /Tooth relics /Botanical garden/Elephant

orphanage /Culture show]

03) 01 Night Adams'peek

[ Boat rafting at Kithulgala ]

04) 02 Nights Nuwaraeliya

[Tea factory /Tea Garden / Sen't clear & Devon water falls /Horton pains]

05) 01 Night Ella

[ able to get Train journey from Nanuoya to Ella then you can visit little

adamspeek /Ella rock ]

06) 01 Night Thissamaharamaya [Yala]

[ Ravana water fall /Buduruwagala temple /Yala national park]

07 ) 04 Nights at Mirissa or Unawatuna beaches .

[ Blow hole / Light at Devinuwara ]

08 ) 01 Night Negombo beach [close to the airport ]

[Turtle farm /River safari in maduganga /Colombo shopping ]

Remarks :

* Regarding the Train Journey , there are better nature views Kandy to Nanuoya or Nanuoya to ella .usually we are providing Nanuoya to Ella due to most of Guests requests .Colombo to kandy is not much better .

* Regarding the Beach , Mirissa is clean and nice beach . but there are not available diving and snorkeler .it's available at Unawatuna .You can get there from Mirissa as Unawatuna beach is crowded at that period .

Thanks !


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3. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

Would like to suggest 14 days Tour plan as bellow,

03Nights at Dabulla/Sigiriya

Possible Visits/Activites,

*Cultural Triangle * Village Tour * Herbal Treatment & Spa * Elephant safri at habarana

02 Nights at Kandy

* Kandy Temple of Tooth * Kandy Cultural dance Show * Elephants @ Pinnawala * kandy City Tour

02 Nights at Ella/Via Nuwaraeliya

* Ramboda water fall * Working Tea factory & Tea plantation * Train Ride from Nanuoya to Ella * Visits at Ella * little Adams peak * Nature Walk to Water Fall

01 Night at Tissa/yala

* Yala National park safari

02 Nights at Tangalla ( isolated sandy beach for relax )

01 Night at Mirissa

Beach Stay * Glass bottom Boat

01 Night at Negombo

*on the way * Turtle Conservation Project * River Boat safari * Galle Fort * mask Museum

Edited: 14 March 2012, 06:42
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4. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

Hi Erik & Sandya

Thanks for your reply. I just re-read this and realised it suggests the opposite of the plan I just made though!

We were thinking of actually spending 1 night in Kandy then 2 at Dambulla whilst we view Sigiriya. We would then hope to get a driver straight from Sigiriya to Nuwara Eliya and not go back to Kandy at all (then train from N Eliya to Ella)

Is Kandy really worth the extra day or two? Were looking at the Kandalama Hotel outside Dambulla as one of our splurges - thought the monkeys would appeal to our son!

I'm having a look at your other suggestions now too.


p.s. I may have a further query on trains for you at some point once I get my act together....

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5. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

So perhaps I could ask for your advice again on my revised itineary - would be much appreciated. We don't want to move around tooo much (I always get accused of trying to do to much) and we are really not looking for really touristy things, so probably no elephant orphanages and tooth museums or 'cultural shows' so here goes:

Day 1 - Arrive Colombo 4am. Train to Kandy.

overnight Kandy

Day 2 - Kandy sights. Driver to Dambulla

Day 3 - a.m Climb Sigiriya. Then cave temples or Polonnaruna

o/n 2 nights Dambulla (Kandalama Hotel poss?)

Day 4 - Drive to Nuwara Eliya. Tea factory/Horton Plains/

Day 5 - N. E. Horseriding?

o/n 2 nights Nuwara Eliya (Trevene Hotel ?)

Day 6 - Train from N.E to Ella. Little Adam's peak, Ella Rock

o/n Ella

Day 7 - Drive Ella - Yala

o/n 2 nights Yala in park

Day 9 - Drive Yala-Unawatuna

o/n 4 nights Unawatuna

Day 13 - Galle

Day 14 - Colombo (then fly out next day)

Does this look feasible? The only things that might really throw us are if a) the trains run at really unhelpful times and thus lose us a day/half day in each place, and b) if we can't find drivers to do these 3 separate journeys.

One last thing - on Day 1 we land at 3:30am and will be tired with a child in tow. I realise we have to get the train from the centre of Colombo, and we don't really want to go to Negombo - Is the train journey very scenic Colombo-Kandy, or would we be better to just hire a driver and head straight to Kandy from the airport ,to get there in time for breakfast? We don't want to do the dull westerner thing, but maybe that trip will be a bad idea at that point? any advice

Much appreciated in advance if you can offer any help - finally feel like a plan is forming but still so many options!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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6. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

Well the problem is that you backtrack. Triangle is north of Kandy, so it would be Kandy-Triangle-Kandy-Eliya. IF you want 3 full inland bases (which in your original question we advised against) then Airport-Triangle-Kandy-Eliya is the logical sequence.

You're still talking about separate drivers for rides. Nonsense, should have ONE driver with you until U'tuna. He calculates with Rs 40+/km while one-ways are Rs 70+/km.

Train Eliya-Ella will do (he can pick you up at the end), and if you really want also Rambukkana-Peradeniya or v.v. combined with a Pinawela visit. R-P is the nice part of Colombo-Kandy.

As for the first night, well simply have a few hours rest & B'fast in a Negombo guesthouse or hotel before embarking on the 5-hour journey to Triangle (e.g. Kandalama).

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

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7. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

Maybe contact some of the TA recommended drivers and tell what you want and let them work out the itinerary. Those recommended often on this forum are more likely to attend to what you want than bigger companies who have a few fixed itineraries they prefer to use . . for what ever reason suits them.

If you think your ten year old may not travel easily, a rest - even a night - at Negombo would be good. [Negombo is an interesting place with its special character too.] Otherwise, with a driver and itinerary prearranged, you could go immediately to the CT where you could see what you want and do an elephant safari Minneriya area then head for Kandy where IMO one night is plenty, especially if you don't want to see the Temple or the Elephant Orphanage. [Good call on that., again IMO.] The Cave Temples really are worth a visit en route to Kandy.

Following Kandy you could head for the Nuwara Eliya area where I believe horse riding is available, train to Ella then head for the East Coast Highway 23 then 2 [ don't think the numbers have been changed] to Tissamarahama from where you can get to Yala if you prefer a National Park wildlife safari there to one in Minneriya. Alternative from Ella is the road to Kataragama which is closer to Yala than Tissa.

From Kataragama/ Tissa head to the beaches as suggested.

Sri Lanka has so many beautiful sights to see, so much to explore, do and enjoy. Have a lovely holiday.


8. Re: Please help with 14 day itinerary August - too many options!

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